When buying food from a bulk section, I hate getting the little bits of crumbled off pieces. For example if I’m buying walnuts, I like a full walnut, not a little broken off edge. Does that make sense? If the bulk food is stored in large containers and you’re supposed to use a scoop to place it in a bag, are there any tricks for getting full pieces?

Let me know if the question doesn't make sense and I'll try to fix it.

  • Are you in essence asking for how to buy whole pieces of something when shopping? I don't think that is on-topic...
    – holroy
    Dec 10, 2015 at 2:43
  • 1
    I'm asking how to pickup only whole pieces, especially when you can't use your hands.Also I don't think it makes sense to say anything is off-topic on this site: as long as it has a strange way of doing it, it is on topic.
    – Celeritas
    Dec 10, 2015 at 2:49
  • Well you're stuck - unless you take a pack of latex gloves with you and hand select individual walnuts, and in the case of walnuts, they are pretty fragile and break quite easily, so by the time you get home, some bits are likely to have broken off anyway.
    – Bamboo
    Dec 10, 2015 at 12:11
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    I would hate to try to get walnuts after you! :)
    – Carl
    Dec 13, 2015 at 4:21

3 Answers 3


If it's not too heavy, you can shake the container before scooping so that the small pieces filter down through the spaces between the larger pieces. This separation by size is called granular convection or the Brazil nut effect.

  • Thanks I was thinking something like that. I notice when I start using what I bought, the larger ones surface to the top and at the end I'm left with only the small broken bits.
    – Celeritas
    Dec 10, 2015 at 23:25

If you're buying from the bulk bin, it's virtually impossible to avoid getting some broken pieces of, say, nut meats. One way to deal with this is to buy a slightly larger weight of product than you actually need, and accept that you'll get some broken bits -- which can then be broken down further (a few pulses in a blender) to make (in the case of nut meats) nut sprinkles. Same idea with corn flakes, you make crispy bits to coat foods before frying; with candy, you have something to mix into whipped cream or sprinkle over ice cream.

In other words, if life gives you lemons, make lemonade.


This is a variation on the good answer James provided.

  • Instead of one scoop, get two. (Just borrow one from a neighboring bulk-food bin).
  • Use scoop 1 to take a LARGE quantity of the walnuts (more than you need).
  • Shake scoop 1, to filter down some of the smaller pieces to the bottom.
  • Then attempt to pour JUST the whole pieces into scoop 2. Leave as many of the smaller bits in scoop 1 as you can.
  • Empty scoop 1, which now just has small pieces, back into the bulk food bin.
  • Shake scoop 2, which now has a higher concentration of whole walnuts, to filter down more smaller bits to the bottom.
  • Attempt to pour JUST the whole pieces from scoop 2 back into scoop 1.
  • Dump scoop 2's smaller pieces back into the bin.
  • Repeat as desired.

After doing this a few times, you should have a scoop that is almost entirely full of whole / larger pieces. :)

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